Arizona mother accused of starving, abusing 7 of her children

Leroy Wright
March 21, 2019

The Department of Child Services removed all seven children from Hackney's care and has assisted in having the children forensically interviewed and medically examined.

While police were questioning the children, one child was afraid to eat in case his mother smelled chips on his breath, and another said he was only allowed to eat because the police were there and had not eaten in two days, officials said. As of Wednesday morning, the channel had almost 800,000 subscribers.

When they arrived on the scene, police say they found children who appeared to be malnourished and underweight.

The children were allegedly locked for days inside closets, pepper-sprayed, and denied food and water for days, the woman reported, according to police.

They say Hackney beat them with belts, brushes and hangers and, on multiple occasions, pinched a boy's genitals until he bled. One of the kids drank three 16-ounce bottles of water in 20 minutes once offered the chance to drink.

A YouTube channel of an Arizona woman arrested on suspicion of abusing her seven adopted children shows them in simple skits about a kid stealing cookies or a little boy with super powers.

One child was found in a closet wearing only a pull-up diaper, police said.

Ricardo Alvarado, a Maricopa police spokesman, said the seven adopted children ranged in age from about 6 to 15.

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Hackney denied the accusations, and told police that the only punishment she uses is spanking and grounding the children, and making them stand in a corner. Another child said the mother puts on a mask to protect herself before attacking them with pepper spray.

Attempting to view a Fantastic Adventures video with 10 million views leads to a blank page with the message "This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been closed". The kids were forced to take ice baths, also were made to stand with their hands raised from dawn to midnights.

Machelle Hackney of Maricopa, Arizona is accused of forcing her adopted children to participate in her YouTube channel and abusing them if they did not recall their lines or perform as directed. Logan Hackney said he had talked with his brother, Ryan, about reporting their mother, but never did, police said. They said they were pulled out of school years ago so they could film more.

The son's interactions with them were terse but did not seem abusive, Fragua said.

However, prosecutors allege, via KPHO-TV, that behind the cuddly image, the children's step-mom Hackney, was carrying out vile abuse against the youngsters off-screen. The closet did have a lock on it, but it was not locked at the time.

In a statement to the Washington Post, a YouTube spokesperson said, "We take safety on YouTube very seriously".

The YouTube channel was still up on the video sharing site as of Wednesday morning. After Hackey's arrest, the channel has been terminated. DCS did not immediately respond to HuffPost's request for comment.

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